Sports

Before Mayweather rematch, Pacquiao to face Buakaw in April

MANILA — After announcing in Japan that he will have a rematch with American boxing icon Floyd Mayweather Jr., Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao disclosed he is set to get in the ring with Muay Thai icon Buakaw Banchamek in an exhibition match in April.

Event organizers said the bout, dubbed “The March of Legend,” would have a budget of $25 million or ₱1.36 billion. The match was first anounced in July 2023. It will be scheduled before the rematch with Mayweather this year.

Pacquiao, 45, will face Buakaw, 41, in a bout of six three-minute rounds, two-minute breaks, and under boxing rules, the former senator’s team said.

It will be fought under a catchweight of 70 kilograms or 154 pounds.

Buakaw, who is known for his devastating switch kick, will be unable to utilize his mastery of the art of eight limbs against the Filipino boxing legend, who holds a professional record of 62 wins including 39 knockouts, eight losses, and two draws.

Earlier, Paccquiao announced his rematch with Mayweather Jr. is happening this 2024.

 Pacquiao made the announcement on the rematch during an appearance at Rizin 45 in Japan, along with Rizin chief executive Nobuyuki Sakakibara. Pacquiao has signed up with Rizin Fighting Federation as early as in April 2019.

“Can you please fight Floyd Mayweather next year?” Sakakibara asked Pacquiao, in a video posted on Rizin’s social media accounts and reported by various media, including ABS-CBN and Sports Illustrated.

In response, the 46-year-old former Senator Pacquiao said: “Thank you so much for inviting me here again. I’m sorry for the last time that we promised we were going to fight this year, but like Sakakibara explained, this year I will see you here in Japan again with a big fight against …”

The former Philippine senator trailed off, and Sakakibara stepped in to say: “Floyd Mayweather.”

“Floyd Mayweather, yeah,” Pacquiao said. “I thought you didn’t want me to say that. But I’m excited for that. Thank you for always supporting Rizin, and thank you Sakakibara-san.”

The fight has been in the pipeline for many years and Mayweather simply shrugged off the proposed rematch. Saudi Arabians were among those who wanted to stage the rematch as early as 2020.

After the Rizin announcement, Mayweather, 47, has not made any response, but the boxing world is said to be hopeful the rematch would happen this time.